Folk Fibers is a small business based in Austin; it has brought old world charm and traditional techniques back to the forefront of people’s minds with handcrafted and naturally dyed patchwork quilts.
Get to know the lady behind the label… we introduce you to Maura Grace Ambrose and her label Folk Fibers.
How did Folk Fibers come about?
My thoughts for Folk Fibers began to develop while I was traveling on a long road trip with my husband. The road has a special way of teaching you to listen to your thoughts that otherwise you would not hear. Being on the road forced me to take a step back and evaluate my past, realizing how it connects to the visions of my future. Now that Folk Fibers has taken root I can understand the path that has lead me hear. I gradated college in 2006, majoring in Fiber Arts. It was in the Fibers department that I discovered my love for natural dyes and quilting. After graduating I felt pressure to get a job, so I embarked on a variety of jobs over the years, all of which hold a valuable experience that I have grown from. I had the desire early on to start my own business but other passions were calling me such as working on organic farms. Following my passions when they arose was the building blocks to the birth of Folk Fibers. I feel as though I have connected the dots and come full circle with my career.
The name is pretty cool, what made you decide on this?
The name Folk Fibers came to me as a revelation in the night. Before falling asleep one night I began reading a heady book about farming. I started to nod off as I read about soil fertility, and suddenly the tune changed and the scientific facts were supplemented with stories of folklore. I went to bed fascinated by the word “folk” and all the lure that it holds. In the middle of the night I woke up suddenly with the name Folk Fibers on my mind. I immediately checked to see if the url address was available, and to my surprise it was! It very much feels meant to be.
What inspires your work ethic?
I previously worked as the Greenhouse Manager on a large, fast growing, organic farm. The farm work taught me the virtues of hard work and it’s ability to enhance ones character. It was there that I developed the mentality, no job is too big and anything can be accomplished with teamwork. Work can be fun and extremely rewarding when your doing something that you love and believe in.
You’re very good at keeping a social presence, what’s your tactic for this?
I love sharing what I’m passionate about! I enjoy taking photos of my process and posting them because it creates a dialog about the work and is a good way to receive feedback. I have found consistency and interesting content to be the best tactic for maintain a social presence, it’s also important to have fun!
When you traveled through states in your camper van, which was your favorite?
When traveling in our camper-van we avoid all highways, we sorta have to because our van doesn’t go very fast, but this also gives us a chance to take the back-roads and experience the small towns. I love America, it’s fascinating how every state has it’s own identity. When traveling across county I enjoy identifying the unique features of each state often considering their aesthetic appeal and culture. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite US state, but I was very charmed by Wisconsin and Kentucky. We arrived in Wisconsin mid-summer and the rolling hills covered in lush green grass and saturated with farms was a pure delight. After traveling across Kentucky I was left mesmerized by the diversity in culture from the prideful horse culture, to the fields of tobacco, to the backwoods bluegrass music. All states have diversity but Kentucky’s felt iconic and deep rooted.
What made you decide on quilting, it’s such a lovely craft?
My obsession with quilting started in my grandmothers attic, with my first collection of vintage fabrics. Later in life I took a class in college called “The Art Quilt” in the class we investigated technical and conceptual aspects of quilt making, drawing from historical perspectives and contemporary examples. That class changed my life, it pushed me to experiment with traditional boundaries and explore my own style.
And lastly… what’s next for you?
I will continue to make quilts! I have a lifetime of dye experiments ahead of me, especially learning the best way to process the indigo that I grow. I am also starting teach some classes and lead a few workshops.